Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Future flooding disasters to be averted by maths

28.09.2006
Oxford researchers have won funding to improve the usefulness of weather predictions regarding the probability and extent of extreme rainfall. This will help hydrologists, civil engineers, policy-makers and government to take appropriate measures to protect buildings and people from the devastating effects of extreme floods such that in Boscastle, Cornwall, 2004.

The new £300,000 research project at Oxford University is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.

'What we are doing is bringing together, for the first time, three different areas of science: mathematics, supercomputer weather prediction, and historical data’, Dr Patrick McSharry at Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science said.

‘We are using advanced mathematical techniques which were originally developed for a different application. This helps us to improve the predictions we can make based on data that has already been collected. To do this we are using the vast computing power provided by new weather models. For example, there is a limit to the accuracy of data collection and tiny measurement errors can lead to increasing forecast uncertainty as you look further into the future.

'So if we can improve the mathematics to handle the uncertainty in the data and models, we can improve the accuracy of the predictions for people such as engineers and policy-makers.'

The new mathematical prediction techniques to be used in the study will be developed in collaboration with researchers at the Said Business School, who were originally looking to improve models for forecasting electricity demand.

The techniques will be used in conjunction with the output from a state-of-the-art supercomputer weather model at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

The data, on which the work will be based, will come from the largest record of historical data of UK rainfall patterns, which date back as far as 1860 when weather records were produced by amateur enthusiasts. It will be the first time that researchers will have access to this vast amount of data in electronic format. It will be made available by a specialist hydrologist at Hydro-GIS Ltd.

Dr Harvey Rodda, of Hydro-GIS said: ‘Accurate rainfall predictions are needed as part of the information used to design measures to protect houses built in areas which are most vulnerable to flooding. The connection between rain and flooding is complicated. It is not enough just to predict rainfall depth, but prediction must also say how likely rain is at any time, which means calculating the probability of rainfall. Another element is the pattern of rainfall – for example, for the severe floods in Boscastle in 2004 and those on the Thames in 2003, the causes and pattern of rainfall was different, so scientists need to know what pattern of rainfall caused the flooding.’

The research will also produce an automatic system for discovering the most likely pattern in the predicted rainfalls. The new prediction system and data will be freely available over the internet for use by hydrologists, civil engineers, government policy-makers and researchers.

Barbara Hott | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ox.ac.uk
http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/samp/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>